A Bigger Boot Scooting Barn Dance in 2021 thanks to ANZ Mardi Gras grant

David GibsonGRAI News

2020 Barn Dance

GRAI – GLBT Rights in Aging Inc and Vic Park Pride are excited that one of Western Australia’s most exciting LGBTIQ+ events – Perth Barn Dance, will be back bigger and better thanks to a $7500 grant from the ANZ & Sydney Mardi Gras Community Grants.

GRAI Deputy Chair and Perth Barn Dance organiser, Adrian Tilby said that the grant would ensure that plans were well underway for the 2021 intergenerational LGBTIQ+ hoedown at Perth City Farm.

“Like many community events we were worried if this year’s event could even be held, but thanks to Perth City Farm, the City of Perth and all our amazing volunteers from Vic Park Pride, not only did we hold a COVID safe event, but it was a sellout!”

“GRAI is thrilled to receive this significant grant and will use the funds to deliver an even bigger and better event in 2021.” Adrian said.

Perth Barn Dance was first held in 2019 to provide a celebration of WA’s LGBTIQ+ community and has resonated LGBTIQA+ people of all ages with over 1000 attending over the two past years.

Adrian explained “We’ve had lots of feedback that Perth Barn Dance is not just a chance to put on the boots and have a dance. People have told us how it’s given them a safe place to express themselves, building a sense of social connection and improve their wellbeing, confidence and resilience.”

“It couldn’t continue without the fabulous LGBTIQA+ community support and our amazing volunteers and all their hard work.”

Planning is now well underway for the August 2021 event with Sat 21st Aug set as the date and the Mucky Duck Bush Band booked. The ANZ Mardi Gras grant will also allow other new exciting initiatives yet to be announced.

“On behalf of GRAI and the wider WA LGBTIQA+ community we want to say thank you to ANZ and Mardi Gras for supporting us and this fabulous event.”


GRAI Annual Report 2020

Staff WriterGRAI News

GRAI Annual Report 2020

GRAI is pleased to release our beautiful new annual report for 2019/20. And what a year it was, read all about it right here.

“As we reflect on 2019-2020, it seems quite surreal when we compare our present world to our lives just one year ago. However, I want to put aside much commentary on COVID-19: while it has changed our lives a great deal, Western Australia has been able to avoid some of the circumstances affecting the rest of the world. As we have lived and worked through a period of restrictions, GRAI’s resilience and adaptability has been a joy to watch”. Michael Berry – GRAI Chair.

Read the digital version online with issuu!

GRAI Annual Report 2020

Read previous Annual Reports and more!

Talking Generations Games

Staff WriterEvents, GRAI News

Talking Gens

Talking Generations Games – building a strong LGBTI intergenerational community that is inclusive and fabulous!

The fifth in GRAI’s popular Talking Generations series, the T-Gen Games will continue our tradition of providing space for rich, all-ages conversations – this year while playing games in the park!

Starting with morning tea, we’ll form intergenerational teams for a circuit of games, like croquet, chess and giant jenga, and gay games traditions such as handbag toss… Will wily old age beat youthful enthusiasm? There will be quieter spaces for those who prefer to remain dignified observers, and more outrageous activities for those who don’t care.

Enjoy a well-earned long-table lunch in the marquee, the launch of GRAIs beautiful ‘Coming out of Covid’ portrait exhibition, warm and lively discussion with new friends, all topped off with entertainment by the gorgeous and talented Cougar Morrison!

Transport is available in Southcare’s bus – please contact us if you need a lift.

Buy tickets on Eventbrite….

GRAI AGM 2020 Photo Gallery

Jaime PageEvents, GRAI News, Membership


Photo credits Leece Johnson

GRAI would like to thank all of the members and friends that made our 2020 AGM such a wonderful success. It was a record turnout and can only lead to even bigger and better things next year.

Special thanks to the GRAI board for all their hard work and our very special guest Manuao TeAotonga from the ‘Dirty Cabaret Halloween Show’. For more info click here…

Coming Out Of Covid Gallery

Jaime PageEvents, GRAI News

Aunty Vanessa

Acorn Photo and GRAI’s heart and soul person June Lowe recently paid visits to some of our most loved members of the community for a glamorous photoshoot and interview opportunity.

The original plan was to hold a real exhibition once the pandemic had settled down, but with things still being a bit uncertain we thought best to hold the exhibition online.

To see the photo gallery click here.

Aunty Vanessa – Finch Whitehead


Staff WriterEvents, GRAI News, Membership

AGM 2020

You are warmly invited to join us at our upcoming AGM. This is an opportunity to celebrate GRAI’s achievements of 2019-2020, and for us to thank you for your support throughout the year.
We love to add a little something special to our AGM’s following the formalities.

This year we’re delighted to present a vignette performance by the fabulous Manuao Te Aotonga. Manuao recently earned rave reviews and won 2019’s State theatre award for best musical theatre performer for his stunning role as Lola/Simon in Kinky Boots, and is soon to thrill audiences as Frank ‘n’ Furter in his upcoming Halloween show, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Experience.

We’re lucky indeed to spice our afternoon with a taste of Manuao’s talented artistry! The afternoon will end with drinks and nibbles, relaxing with friends old and new.

The venue at Southcare Central has plenty of easy parking.  If anyone would like assistance with transport, please let us know.


Southcare & GRAI: Celebrating 5 Years!

Staff WriterGRAI News

Southcare 5th Anniversary

GRAI recently held a very special anniversary function in celebration of our 5th anniversary at Southcare. Our CEO Michael Berry presented CEO Nicky Howe with a lovely commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. We look forward to many more anniversaries in the future!

Celebrating 5 amazing years of friendship between GRAI and Southcare. Southcare were recognised by GRAI for being a…

Posted by Southcare on Sunday, 13 September 2020

Find out more about Southcare and the aged care services they provide…

Social Connectivity Report

Staff WriterAdvocacy, GRAI News, Research

Social Connectivity

A peer-led program for social connection and healthy ageing in the LGBTI+ Perth community

A GRAI Initiative compiled by Jude Comfort Consultancy


There have been considerable advances in the recognition and rights of the LGBTI+1 community in Western countries including Australia. There are still challenges that face the community which manifest as higher rates of mental health issues, social isolation, loneliness, covert discrimination, family of origin issues etc. While such issues are also found across the broader older age group, LGBTI+ elders face unique issues that often impact on their well-being. In particular as noted by Rogers (1, 2) and others this includes:

  • Invisibility and social isolation
  • Marginalisation by service providers

This paper presents a short background on the social challenges faced by many LGBTI+ elders and proposes a peer-led2 program that seeks to address some of these issues. It builds on the work of GRAI3 as presented in a draft report on a social outreach project proposal (3). In the first instance it is proposed that GEOC (GLBTI Elders Optimising Connection) is run as a pilot program for one year (ideally a two-year framework would be preferred but pragmatically it may be easier to gain funding for one year). A pilot program allows for an evaluation of a longer-term sustainable program and to learn and adapt the program as required.

GRAI, based in Perth, Western Australia has long been a champion advocating for more inclusiveness and support at all levels for LGBTI+ elders. This has included specifically targeting aged care providers through a federally funded program to promote inclusive practice for LGBTI+ clients and staff. GRAI has also worked hard to provide social activities for elders through such events as movie nights, a lunch club for older lesbians, discussion afternoons and intergenerational events such as the successful ‘talking generations’ afternoons. There are few other organisations dedicated to the needs of older LGBTI+ adults or who run a program within their wider community program that is specifically directed to LGBTI+ elders. However, GRAI is aware that not all LGBTI+ elders are attracted to or participate in these or any programs.

To date GRAI projects have largely been led by the Chair, other board members, volunteers, paid trainers and wherever possible include peer input. GRAI also has a history of working well with several existing social groups within the LGBTI+ community including Prime Timers (a social networking organisation, established in 2003 for mature gay and bisexual men) (4) and Pride WA (5).

Research suggests that programs that involve older LGBT+ adults in the design, planning, and execution of services, are likely to be more sustainable (6). Many elders have well-developed skill sets that could be called upon to assist in running social connectivity programs, especially where a peer-led approach is used. Self-representation by elders is a matter both of dignity and effectiveness. For example, GRAI has invited panels of LGBTI+ elders to speak at seminars for the aged care sector, where elders’ contributions had a powerful and cogent impact.

Completed by Dr Jude Comfort Jude Comfort Consultancy Jude.comfort@gmail.com

Image Credit Pexels

Living Well In Covid Times Newsletter #2

Staff WriterGRAI News, Membership, Newsletters

GRAI Newsletter

28 April 2020 by June Lowe

Dear friends

For several weeks now, GRAI and Prime Timers volunteers have been phoning around our friends, elders in the LGBTI community. We have learned we are a philosophical bunch, generally optimistic, and hopeful that our crisis-heightened social awareness and neighbourliness will continue post-lockdown. Many of you have reported an increased number of calls and acts of kindness. Long may it reign!

The practical and creatives among us have revelled in enterprising projects – from crocheting to kitchen renovations, learning musical instruments or foreign languages. Some of us are exercising more, and some are Netflixing more. Below are a few recommendations from the trenches, feel free to contact us with your own favourite survival tips.

“The light at the end of the COVID tunnel glimmers ever closer, and we are preparing, cautiously, to emerge as face-to-face social beings once more”…
June Lowe – April 2020

A big winner from our home isolation has been forcing us to lower our resistance to technology – many of us doing Zoom meetings with L-plates (me too). However, the pressure of on-line activity is causing great frustration for some elders – see our call-out for IT support below.

From our phone calls we hear that despite being resilient on the surface, there is an undercurrent of stress, especially for those without partners, where fears can be easily amplified. One elder told me she understood her reactions as a grieving process – disbelief, anger, depression, acceptance – and hoped that people would reach out with compassion to those who are struggling.

Please contact us to share any ideas that others (LGBTI elders) might appreciate. Also, if you are facing any COVID-related challenges, give us a ring… we might be able to help – or if not, put you in touch with someone who can.

Contact june@grai.org.au | 9383 7753. 


Dan: “We have to get ‘unresistant’ to technology”.
Susanne: “Those of us who play in the world of imagination are ideally suited to isolation”.
Janice: “The inordinate obstinance of inanimate objects”.
Ivan: “I’m losing my technique: rusting over!”
M: “I’m being dismantled and reassembled”.
Janice: “We don’t have to achieve a lot at this time: it’s down time”.


On-line shopping is not as easy as it’s cracked up to be… let us know if you want a hand. For essentials delivery, a new service worth looking at is: cahoots.org.au

IT Support – On-line stuff driving you crazy?

If you NEED help with IT, or would like to volunteer to GIVE over-the-phone support, please contact us.

For people in the Mandurah area, Mandurah Muscateers (Charity computer services) are retired IT people who offer help to seniors and other concession card holders. http://www.mandurahmuscateers.org/ | muscats@bigpond.net.au| 9534 7834. Open Tues and Thurs 9am – 3.30pm.

From employment to health and wellbeing, to decreased opportunities to connect – COVID-19 is impacting on us all in many ways. 

In order to inform their work during COVID-19, Equality Australia would love for you to spend a few minutes on their survey, letting them know the impact that COVID-19 is having on you. 

With your help, they can build a clearer picture of the needs of LGBTIQ+ people during this time, and advocate strongly and effectively for our community so that nobody is left behind. 

Meanwhile, we hope you might find something
to pique your interest in the following…


OUT Dance – just celebrated their 19th birthday… Congratulations! 
While the dancefloor is out of bounds, OUTDance has weekly ZOOM classes scheduled for each Tuesday. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/outdance.perth
Website: https://www.outdance.com.au/

Offerings abound for those seeking on-line arts, culture, and other ‘quarantainment’.

For a virtual stroll around the WA Art gallery
Missing the animals? Try: Perthzoo.wa.gov.au   
We received a thumbs up for “Circus of books” on Netflix
Or an alternative to Netflix is a free channel TUBI TV



An exciting online event bringing our community together to celebrate the inspiring talent of Australian LGBTIQ+ artists and performers. Livestreamed on 2 May at 1pm Western time. From musical performances to comedy, drag to hip hop, this event showcases the extraordinary diversity of talent in our community!
Organised by Equality Australia to support our LGBTIQ+ artists.
Learn more about the event and the line-up
#QueerLoveIn equalityaustralia.org.au/queerlovein 
Time: 1:00PM Western Time 
Date: 2 May 2020.  
Location: Streamed live online via facebook and their website. 
RSVP here: bit.ly/queerlovein   


There’s a plethora of online games – we are favouring the interactive ones you can try with friends. You can play Pictionary via Zoom or for card lovers, there’s Euchre. We attempted a game of Charades on Zoom (hilarious, though not very successful yet).

We’re researching the possibility of an on-line quiz night. As the social mingling rules are relaxed, 6 – 8 people could meet in someone’s home to form their quiz table, and connect to the quiz-leader via Zoom. Let us know if you are interested in hosting or joining a table!


10 Fun Games to Play on Zoom That Will Amp up Your Next Virtual Party
Whether you prefer trivia, Bingo, word games, or card games, there’s a way to play online.

Random Trivia Generator (Pic)

Scrabble with friends on Facebook!

Play Monopoly on Pogo…
Please contact us with your thoughts, suggestions, issues, or just for a chat!
Contact june@grai.org.au | 9383 7753


MEET’n’MUSE goes on-line! Our long-running discussion group for older lesbians is continuing by Skype! Each session will have up to 8 ‘Musers’ and the discussion topic circulated beforehand. To join an MnM session, or for more info, contact Pam Mulholland: pam_mulholland@aapt.net.auor 0420 929 583.

DIGITAL DANCE CLUB – All The Queens Men (ATQM) famously organised two ‘Coming Out Balls’ in Melbourne (in 2018 and 2019) and also run an on-going LGBTI+ elders dance club. You can now join this club on-line (it’s free) every second Sunday. Or check out the webpage at the very least! (it’s fun). https://allthequeensmen.net/projects/digital-dance-club/

THE KINDNESS PANDEMIC – a project to lift your spirits, as people share their positive stories to inspire. Started by Catherine Barrett, this has gone seriously global. 
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kindpandemic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/515507852491119/
Website: https://www.thekindnesspandemic.org/

CHAIR YOGA – maybe this is the time to deliver on those long-neglected good intentions, or explore something new? Free 20 min Chair Yoga session, via Zoom, every Tuesday 10 to 10.20 (WA time) through the LGBTI Health Alliance until 30 June. More info, contact Leanne, Leanne.Williams@lgbtihealth.org.au or register 

FLOOR YOGA – Free floor yoga session, via Zoom, every Tues 12 noon to 12.45 (WA time) – through the LGBTI Health Alliance, until 30 June.
Register https://zoom.us/j/562007546
More info, contact Leanne, Leanne.Williams@lgbtihealth.org.au

VIRTUAL HUGS – this joyful video project by sami captures our diverse community sending ‘Auslan hugs’. It’s gorgeous, take a look. Instructions are included (below the video) if you want to participate and add your own hug. 

GRAI Covid-19 Response

Staff WriterGRAI News, Health and Wellbeing, Newsletters


The GRAI mission is to be responsive and inclusive whilst promoting and supporting quality life for older people of diverse sexualities and gender identities This information is to provide LGBTI elders with some useful resources to help with day to day challenges in the coming weeks due to COVID-19. 

Central Patient COVID-19 Triage Hotline –1800 020 080 

The national 24/7 hotline will be expanded to help triage people with respiratory symptoms and those who are concerned about contact with a possible COVID-19 case. Alternatively, potential COVID-19 patients can present in person to a GP clinic, a dedicated respiratory clinic or to a hospital ED if they call ahead.

Fast Track Electronic Prescribing

Contact your local pharmacy – see if they provide this service.

“ePrescribing”: Allows a doctor to prepare an electronic prescription that the patient can electronically share with their pharmacy (where the pharmacy can support the home delivery of medicines). Allows people in self-isolation access to their medicines and will lessen the risk of infection being spread in general practice waiting rooms and at community pharmacies.

Home Medicines Services to support the response to COVID-19

Contact your local pharmacy – see if they provide this service. (Not widely available). Some pharmacy chains currently support remote dispensing of prescriptions using a combination of mailed prescriptions, faxed/emailed prescriptions or electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) technology. 

Mental Health Support- it’s ok to seek support 

  • Beyond Blue    1300 224 636 (available 24/7) 
  • Qlife                1800 184 527 (available 3pm-midnight) 
  • Lifeline WA      13 11 14


Coles and Woolworths have facilities to shop online and deliver, with little or no cost. Also check with your local independent grocer. This can help reduce risk of unnecessary exposure and lower your stress levels, while keeping your pantry full. UPDATE MARCH 2020: There have been disruptions to some online shopping services. See store websites for updates.

Emergency Financial Support- Australian Tax Office (ATO) – 1800 806 218

Anyone impacted by COVID-19 can contact the ATO to request assistance on the Emergency Support Infoline to discuss their situation.

More Info…

Excellent health resource information is available from the Department of Health, reference below, and updated on a regular basis: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-nat…


WHO Advice for public

Hand Hygiene Australia

Events: Current Code of Practice

At GRAI, we take the health and wellbeing of our community very seriously. With this in mind we are updating everyone on our current practice for all upcoming events. To maintain the health of both GRAI members and community and any events, at this time we are kindly asking the following:

If you have arrived in Australia from overseas you will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days and we ask that you do not attend any GRAI events. (Updated Sunday, March 15 at 1pm).

If you have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or someone who is at high risk of a positive test, then we ask that you do not attend any GRAI events, until you are cleared by a medical agency to do so.

If you are feeling unwell, or have and cold or flu symptoms, then we ask that you not attend any GRAI events.

As per recent announcement to help slow the spread, the Australian Government has advised, effective from Monday 16 March, organised, non-essential gatherings should be limited to 500 people.

GRAI, will continue to review its upcoming GRAI events, and if appropriate postpone, cancel or reschedule these events, due to increased risk of CO- VID 19

The best available government advice is to:

  • Encourage all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Stay at home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly

This advice may need to be revised, urgently, depending on the spread of the COVID-19. GRAI, encourages members to remain up to date with the government health warnings in the coming days.

Note: This information is being rapidly updated. For the very latest info please visit the official Australian Government COVID-19 alert site at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

And on a personal note, we are here to help!

We know this is a worrying time for some of our members as well as those involved with Prime Timers and TransFolk of WA We want to work together to support those who may want to self isolate or may need other support. There are a lot of support services out there but if you do need help of some sort please get in touch with us. Both GRAI and Transfolk have small boards and we can’t promise the world, but we do have a small group of volunteers and we will do what we can, so if you do need help please reach out. We may also put out a call later for some additional volunteers. So please watch this space. Love and virtual hugs!

For help and support contact info@grai.org.au or join our Facebook support group.

Mandurah Women’s Dance Party

Staff WriterEvents, GRAI News


Saturday 7 March 2020 – 7.30pm to 1am at the Sunbreakers Restaurant, MANDURAH!

Harking back to the Women’s Dances in WA in the 70s and 80s…. GRAI (GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc.) and MeetnMuse Mandurah, are holding a Women’s Dance Party in Mandurah. 

This event welcomes all women, especially celebrating women of diverse sexuality and gender identity, and also honours International Women’s Day (Sunday 8th).

Event Date: Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 7:30pm to Sunday, March 8, 2020 – 1:00am.

To date, there has been limited visibility for lesbian, bi and TGD women in Mandurah. Poised between Perth and the South-West, Mandurah presents the perfect meeting space for women of diverse identities and cultural backgrounds to meet up and build social connections.

Appropriately, Mandurah’s true (Noongar) name is Mandjoogoordap, meaning ‘meeting place of the heart’.

Dance the night away with 60’s 70’s and 80’s music – feel free to dress retro if you wish! 

This is an aged-friendly event with wheelchair access and plenty of seating.

All female bar staff | Licensed venue, 18+ | Free photobooth.

On-site accommodation available: reduced rates via Mandurah Motel. Book directly, mentioning the Dance. (08) 9582 9488.

Dance enquiries to Pam on 0420 929 583 or graipamm@gmail.com

BOOKINGS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mandurah-womens-dance-party-tickets-78575947775

Limited tix – book early to avoid disappointment

Before Stonewall

Staff WriterAdvocacy, Events, GRAI News

Before Stonewall

This forum combines an INFO SESSION on Navigating Aged Care, followed by refreshments, before our special Australian premiere screening of BEFORE STONEWALL!

5.00pm – Presentation and Q&ANavigating Aged Care – Connecting with services and support. Specialist Advocate Navigator, Justine Martyr.

5.30pm – Light refreshments and opportunity to socialise and/or talk further with the Specialist Navigator.

6.00pm – FilmBefore Stonewall: the making of a gay and lesbian community. This recently remastered documentary celebrates the seminal event – 50 years ago – which triggered the LGBTI rights movement internationally.

Before Stonewall is essential viewing to appreciate LGBTI history and celebrate our elders who paved the way for a safer world!

More info…

This event is proudly supported by RAAFA Seniors Living

Becoming Colleen

Staff WriterEvents, GRAI News

Becoming Colleen

Becoming Colleen: Finding the shoe that fits, a transgender story.

A story of transitioning at 82 and a love beyond gender.

This moving Australian documentary traces the life of Colleen: through beautifully portrayed memories, a touching story emerges of the need to find creative ways to negotiate life when ‘the shoe just doesn’t fit’.

‘Becoming Colleen’ is essential viewing for health- and aged-care workers, as well as anyone intrigued to think more deeply about gender, family relationships, and the right to be safe and welcomed.

Your ticket price includes:

5.30pm Light refreshments | 6.00pm Film screening | 7.00pm Q&A with panel of trans elders.

More info…

Proudly sponsored by RAAFA Seniors Living

Chair, June Lowe on ABC Radio 15th Feb 2018

Staff WriterAdvocacy, GRAI News, Media

ABC News Audio

Coming out Later in Life

People who keep secrets do so because they can often cause shame.

Secrets have destroyed friendships, brought down governments and unravelled marriages.  

In 1990 the WA parliament decriminalised homosexuality and late last year the government formally apologised to the 300 people who were convicted under that law.

While a majority of you voted in favour of same sex marriage last year, there are still those in the LGBTQI community who are scared to reveal their true selves.

ABC News Audio

What is it like coming out later in life? 

What happens when there are husbands, wives and children involved?

Today’s Focus discussion explores coming out later in life with June Lowe, Chair of GLBTI Rights In Ageing and Rebecca Hannan, a mother of three who left her husband when she fell in love with a woman.

First here from Cliff and Wally who shared their stories with Amber Cunningham.

Duration: 25min 48secBroadcast: Thu 15 Feb 2018, 10:00am

View original ABC media article